Holy roller or ‘all-in’?

| December 31, 2015 | 0 Comments

“Are you a holy roller or something?”

It wasn’t a question I’ve ever been asked before, nor one I was expecting as I stood with a beer in my hand chatting with extended family. We were gathered from seven states at a hotel outside Chicago to celebrate my mom’s 90th birthday.

What prompted the question was that I had gone to Sunday Mass that morning, a conclusion drawn from my telling how, um, interesting I found it that the cantor at the 8 a.m. Mass at a church close to the hotel wore gold lamé shoes.

Not that there is anything wrong with gold lamé shoes, you understand.

The tone of the “holy roller” question wasn’t negative. It wasn’t an attempt to ridicule me for going to Mass. The question was asked more in spirit of, “What’s behind this? Why — when you’re out of town — did you go to Mass?”

I replied that I’d never considered myself a holy roller, but that I do like to go to Mass, that it’s part of me. I need to go to Mass, that I feel I get a lot out of Mass. And I reminded the questioner that I’d worked for Catholic newspapers for 42 years.

I said, too, that I enjoy going to Mass when I travel because I’m curious about how the liturgy is celebrated in other places, seeing what’s the same and what’s different, what seems to add to the people’s celebration and what doesn’t, and how people in the pew are participating and how they aren’t.

As I’ve given more thought to it, though, I’ve decided I’m not holy enough to be called a holy roller. When I see or hear about some of the things other people do both in their prayer life and in their love of neighbor, I know I’m not.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t be — or that we can’t be.

Perhaps there’s a better term than “holy roller,” though.

What do you think about being called an “all-in” Catholic?

Not holding back

Going all-in with our faith is something Mark Croteau spoke about when I interviewed him for The Catholic Spirit’s Dec. 17 story about the impact the Second Vatican Council has had in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Croteau, director of Catholic mission at St. Joseph in West St. Paul, explained it this way: “You hear less about ‘the spirit of Vatican II’ nowadays,” Croteau said. “John Paul II proclaimed and Francis is proclaiming what that meant. There’s complementarity and tension. Francis is challenging us by how he is presenting Christ to the world and asking, why aren’t you doing it, why aren’t you embracing these least ones. You have to engage the people, and that’s what Francis does.

“Discipleship has to be intentional now,” Croteau continued. “Before we had the clarity of being able to follow the rules, go with the flow. Now following Christ requires an all-in mentality. Jesus is demanding all-in of his disciples.

“If you take Vatican II seriously you will be equipped to address the rising secularism and be the kind of Catholic John XXIII and Paul VI envisioned when they were presiding over the council. Vatican II was equipping us to live as disciples who are all-in — all-in in the liturgy, all-in to engage the secular world, all-in to see all our brothers and sisters, to see how their lives are lived and what their needs are.

“That’s holiness,” Croteau said. “That’s gritty holiness.”

So, ready to go all-in? Who knows? We could end up being holy rollers after all.

Bob Zyskowski is the former associate publisher and editor of The Catholic Spirit. You can follow him on twitter or email him at zyskowskir@archspm.org.

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Category: Commentary